Nonprofits are often the organisations that end up looking after those most in need in a disaster situation. Already buckling under the strain of the pandemic, they will be under even greater pressure given the current riots and social unrest that will cause even more people to be homeless and hungry.
Inyathelo, which works to support nonprofits and help them to be more sustainable, has the following words of advice for nonprofits that are in the eye of the storm and dealing with huge demands on their resources and services.
- In the short term, many nonprofits’ own staff will need support during these anxious and disturbing times. Nonprofit leaders need to reach out to their staff and encourage them to share their concerns and experiences.
- Balance how to address pressing new needs, with continuing to pursue your mission. Ensure that the areas in which you have expertise are not forgotten, double down where you have core competencies.
- Ensure that sound governance, financial, operational and reporting guidelines are in place. Many companies that have been generous givers in times of plenty now face great financial constraints and will be forced to consider where they can cut back, so maintain good relationships with funders and keep them updated on your activities.
- While there is no excuse for criminality and opportunistic looting, the unrest is a reminder of the need to focus on root causes of violence and destruction, such as poverty and unemployment, and to work for systemic changes.
- Partner with community leaders and organisations to promote dialogue and help support the development and implementation of community-led strategies to address inequalities.
- Show leadership, and that support for democracy and human rights, the Constitution and robust legal systems, is preferable to anarchy and the path of violence.
Inyathelo offers numerous resources for nonprofits and civil society organisations such as online articles, publications, training videos, toolkits and research reports, most of which can be accessed free, says Nazeema Mohamed, Executive Director of Inyathelo.
“We encourage nonprofits to make use of these resources to help them navigate the current crisis and to better position themselves to attract and maintain support.”